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Parliament Under The Covid-19 Protection Framework

Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard has today released a guide to the operations of the Parliamentary Precinct under the Covid-19 Protection Framework (commonly referred to as the Traffic Light System).

“After seeking feedback from a range of groups who use the precinct, I have developed a system which prioritises the safety of those who work in and visit Parliament, mitigates risk where possible, and supports the effective function of our democracy.”

“It is clear there are a range of views from different groups, but the widely held feedback from staff who have Parliament as their workplace is that allowing unvaccinated visitors would pose a risk to them. All MPs and staff members, including those who have friends and whānau who are vulnerable to Covid-19, or who are vulnerable themselves, should be able to come to work at Parliament and feel as safe as possible.”

From 1 January 2022 visitors will be required to present a Covid-19 vaccination certificate in order to take tours of Parliament. This requirement will also include education groups (for adults and children over the age of 12 years and 3 months). The wellbeing of staff, visitors and the wider community is the focus of this decision.

“I believe strongly in the accessibility of our Parliament and this not a decision I have taken lightly. There are a range of virtual offerings that are available to support the accessibility of information for those who choose not to present a vaccination certificate. The offerings include a virtual tour via the Parliament XR app, videos and other digital resources.”

Staff vaccination is a matter for the employers who have staff on the precinct, but this framework signals that the movement of staff who choose not to present a vaccination certificate will be restricted to only movement strictly necessary for those staff to complete their jobs.

The new system (with the exception of tours and education settings which will be effective from 1/1/2022) will be effective from when New Zealand implements the Covid-19 Protection Framework (11:59pm on Thursday 2 December 2021). Parliament will use My Vaccine Pass to confirm vaccination status.

All MPs will be fully vaccinated by the point when New Zealand implements the Covid-19 Protection Framework.

The system also covers the house, select committees, events and hospitality venues, and other visitors.

This system has been considered based on the current environment and will be reviewed on or before 31 March 2022.

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